The Freelancers' Show 100 - Referrals
The Freelancers discuss the best ways to handle referrals.
[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.] [You're fantastic at coding, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? The upcoming book, Next Level Freelance will help you optimize your freelance business for happiness. The book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. Extras include nine interviews of freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. Check it out today, nextlevelfreelance.com.] [This episode is sponsored by Planscope. Planscope is a project management and collaboration app built for freelancers and the way they work with clients. It makes it easy to price up new estimates, and once you're underway, helps answer the question, “Will this get done on time and under budget?” I've been using Planscope to do my estimates and manage my projects, and I really, really like it. It makes it really easy to keep things in order and understand when things will get done. You can go check it out at planscope.io. ] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 100 of the Freelancers Show. This week on our panel we have Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Good day. CHUCK: We also have Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hey everyone! CHUCK: And this week we’re going to be talking about handling referrals. So I'm kinda curious – how much do you guys’ business come in from referrals as opposed to people that find you in other ways? CURTIS: Probably north of 50% I say from other freelancers or previous clients. CHUCK: How about you, Reuven? REUVEN: I guessing close to 10-20%. It sort of depends, but yeah, that’s probably the limit on it nowadays. CHUCK: Yeah, I'm going to split the difference there. I'm probably 30-40%, though it is going up. CURTIS: Yeah a lot of my referrals come because of some of the other projects I've done, it’s other freelancers who do e-commerce work, and then they say, but they can’t do this final piece, that’s the extra hard piece and the requirement and so they say, “You need Curtis just to do the whole thing then.” That’s where I get a lot of mine. CHUCK: How interesting. For me it’s generally one of a couple of things: either people know me through the podcast, so they actually refer people to me having not ever seen me work, which is interesting to me sometimes and then I also get referrals locally, from local folks. Somebody will talk to them and, “Well you're a programmer” and they're like, “No, I have a full-time job, I'm not really interested, blah blah blah” or “I don’t have time to put in to get it done in the time frame you're talking about, so you need to hire a freelancer and I know one.” That’s usually how I get mine. How about you, Reuven? REUVEN: With me, it’s usually been previous clients. Just recently there's a project I worked on I guess about a year or two ago and I got along really well with the guy who’s doing the project. I mean, he and I talked probably once every six months or so, and he called me a month or two ago and said, “Listen, there's this organization and they could use some help. Do you mind just talking to them, giving some general advice?” I said, “Okay.” It’s non-profit. Best case: may get some work out of it, worst case: I’ll just be a nice guy for a little while. And that sort of typical work, someone with whom I've worked, but it’s not on a very regular basis. It’s usually – someone with whom I've worked hears about someone with a problem and they think that I'd be a good fit for it. I should say, it’s almost never other developers, although that does happen, but it’s usually clients, not colleagues. CURTIS: Chuck, what about for you? Is it colleagues, you said? A lot? CHUCK: Yeah, mostly. I mean, occasionally I’ll have an old client refer somebody to you. I think my client, well some of my clients are odd in a sense that I don’t think that they really talk to other entrepreneurs, which I think is a very terrible idea if you're going to be an entrepreneur. They don’t really get into a place where they're talking about this stuff. And then I have a few clients that actually do, but they actually move in the same circle as I do, so it’s not necessarily referral but I might get a reference out of it because they know that I did work for so and so and it’s worked out that way a few times. So it wasn’t a referral; it was a, “Hey, I know you and I know you did work for so and so and so I’ll talk to you about how you think you can solve my problems and I’ll talk to them about how things worked out.” Does that make sense? CURTIS: Mm-hm. REUVEN: Yup. CHUCK: And then the other thing that I run across is I go to conferences and things and meet people, but those are usually done direct come back to me to get work done, so. And I'm still kind of in the thick of getting work from both Ruby Conf and New Media Expo, but that’s another episode. REUVEN: So I'm curious with you guys. When I started freelancing, I did some work with a graphic design agency and they called me up and they said, “Listen, we have someone who could really use your sorts of skills. We’d like to refer them to you. What are you going to pay us for that?” And I was like, “What?” and they said, “Well, it’s a professional courtesy; that’s how it works. If we refer your business then you should pay us for it.” So I've never paid for referrals; not then, not now. And I think was just sort of shocked and a number of years have passed, but is this at all the norm? CURTIS: I think it depends. I refer with no expectation of payment at all. I don’t. If I'm just referring it and I'm not doing any project management or doing any portion of it, I don’t get any money for it. Now I have had people refer to me and then say, “Hey, and I usually do a referral fee” I just write back and say, “I never pay referral fees, so, sorry.” If you don’t want to refer to me, that’s fine. What it really boils down to is that they make me feel weird, and so I don’t do it. I wrote a long blog post a number of months back about why I don’t, but it’s not necessarily uncommon. It just makes me feel weird, that’s why I don’t do them and I don’t pay them either. So my response would be, “How much do you pay us?” “Nothing.” CHUCK: Yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat since I subcontract some of the work, you know I am collecting a fee off of that work, but I'm doing [inaudible]. CURTIS: But that’s different, right? Yeah. REUVEN: It actually feels very different also, right CURTIS: You know I worked with one person in Vancouver here, and for some projects I bill her directly and she pays me immediately and I assume she marks it up to bill the clients, but I have no idea. But when she says, “Hey, I've got a project and I just don’t have time to do this portion and I just wanna hand it to you and you run with it and I won’t even hear about it,” then I failed the client directly. So, that’s what I normally do. By billing you directly; I don’t care what you charge. This is what I charge, right? And you feel like you wanna mark it up 10%, go for it. If I'm billing the client directly, then it’s my money because that’s [inaudible], like, I'm billing them. REUVEN: Now that I think about it, there was a developer whom I've done some work with, like he’s subcontracted for me, and he came to me a few months ago and he said he knew someone who might need something, and I think we’d actually tentatively agreed that I would give him some proportion of it, sort of when he was subcontracting for me. In the end it was moot, because I called the woman and she said, “Oh yes, we had a very, very serious site” and it came out that she didn’t want to pay any more than $20 an hour. Hah! I said, well, “Fine. That’s very nice of you. Very nice to meet you.” So we never actually got into the would I have to pay him anything. But in that case, I think, it was because he’s done subcontracting for me and because I took a proportion of it, I think we sort of saw it as a mutual kind of deal. But just sort of regular referrals, I mean, I agree with you guys. I can’t actually expect to get money for it, I can’t imagine paying money for it as a general rule. CHUCK: Yeah, I mean, an upfront fee, like a finder’s fee – I really have a problem with that just because there's nothing proven about it at all. However, I could see, especially I had a relationship that I had worked out with somebody that’s kind of a sales deal or some kind of – something like that – I could see, “Okay, I’ll pay you 5% of whatever we make.” CURTIS: Yeah, I have a friend that does that with real estate: every qualified lead that turns into a sale, he gets a percentage of it; that’s his business model – to get that percentage. CHUCK: Yeah, so I could see paying a salesperson some kind of commission that way, so if we have three ongoing contracts that they found and we worked out a percentage deal – 5%, 10% or whatever – then they get a check every time I did. CURTIS: My biggest thing is most the referrals that I get is they're saying, “Here’s work that I literally can’t do. Can I just don’t know how to do it? And you know how to do these things because you have done them a bunch.” So basically, when it comes to referral fees like that, like, I want work – money for work that I simply cannot do, and you can, so I need money from you because you can do it and I can’t. CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. When you send out referrals, what do you usually do? CURTIS: Send them to the person, say, “Good luck! I think this person’s awesome and they can fill your needs perfectly. I think this is better.” What I found from growing my business, as I've done that, people just send me stuff back naturally. And the client – often the client has come back to me first instead of the other contractor because I said, “Hey, this person’s going to be a better fit for you,” or “this is better for your project” and they came back to me, because my first inclination is to find the best fit for them – not necessarily what's best for my business. And that then builds confidence in me, with them, right? Probably 50% of my referrals that I send away actually come back to talk to me again about a later project. And I may send them away again, and that’s fine, right? Because I also like helping out my friends. I’d love to help out my friends and let them have successful businesses. REUVEN: Right, there’s definitely a sense of community in this also that if you don’t have time, bandwidth, ability to deal with something, and you refer to someone else, at some point – maybe not right away – but at some point, they're going to bring something back to you. It just seems to me that that’s always happened with me. CHUCK: Yup. CURTIS: And it may not even be a specific client/project, but something else that you're interested in, right? Say, inviting you on a podcast or something else – it doesn’t have to be a direct work necessarily, at least upfront. It could be later, but. REUVEN: On a number of occasions, people come to me asking for what's effective [inaudible] web design work? I say, “Look, that’s really not my specialty, but I can recommend you designers with whom I've worked with.” And I usually layout the people whom I've worked with and enjoyed working and respected most. First of all, I actually believe these people are good at what they do, but secondly, they’ve done the same for me where someone comes to them and says, “We need development work” and it’s beyond their capabilities. So I get referrals that way as well. CURTIS: Yeah, that’s exactly what I do with the other web designer in Vancouver. When she has development work that queues up with me, she just gets me to do it. And I do the same – when I have design work that lines up good with her – again, I like working with her because she knows what she’s doing design-wise for developers. CHUCK: I'm a little curious then, if someone gives you a referral, how do you usually address them? Do you call them up? Do you email them? Does it depend on how the referral came in? CURTIS: It depends. I had one that I talked to on Skype this morning, but they called me based off a referral from a friend of mine, and that same friend referred someone else I've been emailing with as well. So, it depends on how it comes in. CHUCK: Yeah, I've gotten referrals where it’s, “Chuck, meet client. Client, meet Chuck” and yeah, I usually just reply to the email and it’s, “Hey thanks, so and so” – whoever made the introduction. And then just a quick introduction, “Hi, this is who I am.” Some of that may have been included in the introduction, but then from there, what we can do is I can actually say, “So, so and so says that you’ve got this –.” I usually try and turn it into a phone call just so that – I feel like people are more expressive and can more easily communicate what they need that way, and so I wind up talking t them on Skype or something. I just schedule a time to talk to them for a half hour or something. CURTIS: And I've normally been primed or I do prime the developer and the client to [inaudible] thing. This is the real sketch of the project, is that something that you're interested in? And then saying, “Hey, this is the developer that I know that could do it. You could check out their stuff if you want. Would you like me to connect you?” So it’s not just a, “No thanks, here you go.” REUVEN: Yeah I agree that the – what typically happens with me is I’ll get email, sometimes I'd get a call, but it’s more than likely I'm going to make an email either with an introduction or, much more often, asking if I'd be interested. “Hey, I know someone who has such and such a project, would you like to hear more about it and have an introduction?” And then usually the introduction’s via email, and then we schedule a time to talk; if it’s here in Israel then I just pick up the phone. Actually, if they're in the US I also pick up the phone and call them. I definitely feel that there's much more communication, and quite frankly I think it is easier to do a good sales job on the call or in Skype than it is via email. CHUCK: Yeah. One other thing that I've done for local folks, because I'm pretty involved with the local community here which really pays off in a lot of ways, but one of the things that really helps out as far as getting referrals is that they know who I am and they know what I can do, and they know I'm a local guy. So if somebody local is asking for a reference for somebody that can do the work, then a lot of times what I’ll do is I wind up taking the potential client and the person who made the referral to lunch. What that does for me is it kind of breaks the ice and it allows the person who already has the rapport with both of us to kind of ease things in and explain things, because usually they have a little bit more context around what I've done and so they can say, “Well, it’s kinda like this project that you did last month,” or “it’s kinda like this demonstration you did for the Users Group or what have you and can help out in explaining some of this stuff.” And they also usually know some of the context around the person that’s being referred to me, and so then they kind of translate it when I don’t have enough context to actually explain it well to them, which doesn’t happen often but it does happen sometimes especially in some of these niche markets where they speak a completely different jargon. REUVEN: Yeah, so once you’ve gotten with a referral, are you then never in touch with the original person or is it just a one-time thing? CURTIS: When I get a referral I always touch base with the client and with the person I referred to to see how the other was to work with, because I only want to give referrals to people who are awesome to work with. I'd rather give a referral to a less technically-adept person and a better client-person. REUVEN: And [inaudible] and responsible. CURTIS: And I always to reach back out, like if I get a referral from someone and they turn in typically if they turn into a real bozo, like I’ll say it right up front. I had that from a friend of mine who doesn’t do consulting and he sent me this guy and he wanted the typical ‘epic’ site for a thousand dollars. I laughed and said, “No.” So like, “I can find someone in India.” “You should.” And I called my friend up and said, “Hey, man. This is what I just had, and I'm just letting you know so you don’t give them any more names.” And he was like, “What?” I totally did not expect it from this friend; it was not his fault. He just, “Hey, you should talk to Curtis.” REUVEN: Yeah, the threat of going to India is always oh-so-convincing to lower my prices. CHUCK: [Chuckles] Yeah. CURTIS: And when I had people that would give me a bunch of referrals in a year, I make it a point to get sending them something. So when I first started, I had a company that I had just got out of consulting, and they sent me, say, enough work in the first year that it turned it from what it would have been a barely-scraping-by first year of freelancing, to a reasonably comfortable year of freelancing. And they get a present every year, so. CHUCK: Yeah, I do that too if I get a referral from somebody that works out. I typically, at the very least, if it’s a really small project, I still go down to Walmart or something and get a gift card for a restaurant that I know is near them and that they can go enjoy that, because I do appreciate getting the referral. [Crosstalk] CURTIS: I'm not as proactive on it for even single projects, but when I've got a couple I do it. This year I'm hoping to be better; my wife is going to take over sending some cards to even clients or to referrals for me, so she’ll get them all out and label and everything and I’ll write a note and get them off. Hopefully I’m going to be up in my game in that this year. REUVEN: That’s very impressive and organized of you guys. I mean, it’s both polite and nice and smart to follow up with people, make sure it’s going well, and thank them. I'm going to have to try that. CHUCK: Yeah. And with the local folks, sometimes I even just take them to lunch and again, that works out really well because I get to kind of build that relationship a little bit more. And it sounds all strategic and stuff, but I like going to lunch with people, so it’s fun. You just get out and chat with some other tech guy or some business guy, we can kinda throw ideas at each other and see how it goes. CURTIS: Yeah, I've done that as well. Headed out of a conference and bought the first beer or something like that for someone who sent me a lot of referrals and they'd say, “Oh, don’t worry about it.” “You know what, you sent me a bunch of work this year. I'd love to treat you to this right now.” CHUCK: So for the clients, is there some way that you go about prompting people to give you referrals, or do you just wait until it organically happens? CURTIS: Last year, at the end of the year, I've been more proactive with asking clients, “Do you know anyone else who would be a good fit with me? If you can, just let me know that I'm around.” And I got one or two extra referrals out of that that I don’t think I would’ve gotten because they were like, “Ah! You know I didn’t even think about doing that for you, but yeah, I love working with you and I do have some people that would be good.” As far as the other freelancers, I just let it happen as it happens. Some of the larger agencies that I worked for off and on, typically on kinda a bit more complex aspect of our project, I do touch base with them almost every month and say, “What's up guys? How are things going? Do you have anything coming up?” That even gets up sometimes, just ask me a question about a project that they're still going to totally take, but I could just answer it and it gets smoothed out for them. But that gets them talking to me again. REUVEN: Yeah, I've started saying more in more in terms of being up front especially when I'm lecturing. I still finish my classes now by saying, “And now, a quick advertisement: if you like this, then you should know I do development and work,” but I haven't taken it to the next level and said, “Or if you know other people who would be interested, let them know.” I have to try that, because it seems very easy, and if you don’t say it, it won’t necessarily occur to them. I think I mentioned on the previous show that I was shocked that people did not realize that I don’t only do training, but I also do development work. Before I said it explicitly, it never dawned on them, so I think this is one of those things where if you don’t say it explicitly, it won’t occur to them. CHUCK: One other thing that I've done is that I try and check in and touch base with my former clients, that ones that I really liked working with, I just tell them that. I'm just like, “Hey, I loved working with you. I really liked working on your project” and then I ask them some questions about, “So, you know, I'm an entrepreneur myself and I really like to talk to people about this kind of business. I'm curious as to who do you talk to and what they do and how you find those people and stuff like that.” And once you start talking about those folks, a lot of times that would prompt something, “Oh, well my one friend had a project he needed done.” Or the other thing is you get through that and you start talking to them about the entrepreneurs or the other people that they interact with and so then you can turn it around and you can say, “Well, if you or any of your friends in that circle need this kind of help or a have a project like this –.” It’s those things that hopefully will trigger something, where they go, “Oh, I did hear about something.” And the more specific I can get, usually the better results I get if they know somebody that has that particular situation. For example, I did some work with somebody where we integrated heavily with Facebook. And so I talked to them and when I was talking to them I basically said, “So if you run into somebody who needs a Facebook app built or needs this specific type of Facebook interaction or just need some social network done, I can definitely do that.” And it kinda got him thinking, “Oh, well I do have this friend” and that friend didn’t work out, but it did get him to the point where he – instead of “Do you know anyone who needs web development?” it’s “Do you know anyone who needs this particular problem solved?” REUVEN: Right. It definitely makes sense to be more specific and clear about what sorts of problems are you going to solve than just say, “Oh yes, I can do lots of web stuff.” That will stick to them very much more, I agree. CHUCK: Magical web stuff. REUVEN: [Chuckles] Yeah, and I think that’s one area where Curtis in particular does very well is that he can actually talk to people and if they have an e-commerce need or one or two or the other fairly specific areas that he works in – he could just tell them really quickly, “I do these kinds of things; do you know anyone who needs it?” instead of saying, “Do you know anyone who needs WordPress help?” which, you know, you can get all kinds of stuff that way that may or may not fit. So do you guys get referrals from people you don’t know? CURTIS: Yup. Or I've only heard of that haven't really talked to. REUVEN: Yup. CURTIS: I had one last year that was a $20,000 project. They said, I can only think of their twitter handle, and I can’t pronounce it, so I'm not going to say their name at all, but they said, “Oh yeah so and so said that you'd be great for this.” And I went, “Oh, that’s awesome. I know that name but I have never interacted with that person.” I actually pinged them, I said, “Why did you recommend me?” and he said, “Well, I looked at your code, I talked to other people that had used you on projects like this and said you were awesome, so I said, ‘Hey, you should talk to Curtis.’” REUVEN: Wow. CURTIS: Basically, [inaudible] trust of a friend, right? I have a number of developers where they said, “Hey, you should talk to so and so about this part – this is just what they would do.” I would just say, “Take it, [inaudible] it. Okay, that is fine, because I will trust you implicitly.” REUVEN: Wow. CHUCK: Does it change things at all as far as the way you handle it or the way you think about it if it’s somebody you don’t know personally? CURTIS: I feel extra special? It’s kinda nice that I've never met this person; I've never interacted with them, and they think I'm awesome? They sent a good client my way with a stellar recommendation? Ooh. I'm really amazing today. And you dance, right? REUVEN: [Chuckles] CURTIS: In my house I dance, and my daughter says, “Put on your wings daddy, as a fairy” and I say, “Okay.” Then we dance. REUVEN: I got something – I guess it was like in September/October – I got a call from the CEO of this new startup and she said, “Oh, I heard about you from so and so, and I think you'd really be great. Can we meet?” So we spoke on the phone a little bit, I went and met her, and before the meeting I said, “Okay, let me check. Who did she say I have been referred by?” And I looked up and I actually exchanged emails with this guy three years before. He was sending me email, me sending an email back – I think that was the end of it. So it wasn’t like we’re really, really close. And so I get to the meeting to talk to them and they say, “So you're referred by so and so. You guys go way back, huh?” [Chuckling] REUVEN: And I sort of forces it, “Umm, I know he and I have had interactions; maybe we just talked at conferences, but you know, I meet so many people so I keep track of them –. Well, we’re not all that close; I'm sorry to say it, but I really appreciate that he referred me.” In the end, the CEO and the startup in general were a bunch of bozos, so it’s one of these meetings where I said, “Well, I'm glad I had the meeting.” And it didn’t go much further than that. CURTIS: Luckily when I ask for a referral from someone I didn’t know, I said, “You know what, I haven't interacted with them a lot, but I know that they do these very specific things and they're awesome at them” and that was their entry point into the project, “We need this [inaudible] press development done, and this person is awesome and this person [inaudible] and said, ‘You don’t really need it; you need these things and this guy’s awesome.’” So I knew of them; I knew their reputation. I just never interacted with them. CHUCK: How do you deal if somebody actually sent you a referral and it doesn’t work out? CURTIS: Well, that would depend how it doesn’t work out, right? When I got the call for this epic site for a thousand dollars, I just called my friend and said, “Don’t give him anyone’s name.” I know projects fail sometimes on our end, sometimes on the client’s end, sometimes on both ends; probably it’s a percentage split depending on whose fault it is, it’s 1% [inaudible] to whichever side more, right? I've proactively reached out and said, “Hey man, I'm really sorry. This is what happened on the project; this is my perspective on it, but you should probably talk to them to see if you really want a rounded perspective because there's always two sides to a story.” So I just try to be honest with them. At the very least, they know that you're being honest, right? And so they feel comfortable referring to you again. When I had that said, I owned right up to it, they got an email like the day after the project was failing. I said, “Hey, this is what happened with the project. I'm very thankful for the referral, and I'm sorry that this may have affected your reputation in any way and here’s my portion of it.” And they said, “That’s awesome. We know we can trust you, Curtis.” REUVEN: Yeah, I've definitely had some referred projects not work out. There was this one that didn’t even start. Basically, I met with this CEO and some other people in the company and we started negotiating over price, and they were just ridiculous, and here’s our price, in terms of what they wanted. The sort of most absurd thing was that we met in a VC firm where she’s like a partner, and she was like, “Oh, we can’t possibly afford to pay you those [inaudible] rates” when those rates where for consulting less than a salary would ever be. So that was kinda ridiculous. So, fine, but I'm not going to hold it against the guy who referred me because nothing really went wrong. But there was a time a few years ago, he had mentioned to guys where basically I was taken in by this hustler who just didn’t pay me at all. And I’d been referred by someone I know who’s his brother-in-law, and I went back to him just to sort of maybe get some ammunition getting paid and he said, “Look, I'm sorry. I really can’t help you at all.” I don’t hold it against him at all. It’s sort of sad that the project worked out the way it did or didn’t work out the way it did – didn’t work out the way it didn’t – but I'm not going to hold it against the guy that referred me. He wasn’t involved in any of the swindling. CHUCK: Yeah, I've had – depending on the contract – I've had some that they referred at me and we couldn’t make what they needed out of it and what I needed out of it mash up due to what they were willing to pay, or what they could pay or what the requirements were, or how much time I had, or how willing they were to accept the terms in which I could actually do work – and with those, usually I just send a polite email to the person who referred them and just say, “Hey, look. Thanks for the referral, this is why it didn’t work out.” And I usually give them just enough information so that they can maybe find somebody else who will work out, if I don’t have somebody who I can refer them to that I think it would benefit them, but yeah, I pretty much do what you guys do. I had the one project that failed spectacularly last year, and we talked about that in another show, and that wasn’t a referral – I was actually subcontracting – but at the same time, I did have to explain to the person I was subcontracted to why it didn’t work out. He had some skin in the game; I had some skin in the game, and not just because he was the primary contractor, but because he actually had a longstanding relationship with the client. it does complicate things sometimes. CURTIS: Yeah, the lasting relationship can be easier. I know from one of my long-term clients, I referred them to someone else that simply just didn’t work out and they – I still work with them. They came back to me and when I found out it didn’t work out very well, I said, “I'm really sorry guys. That’s certainly not my intention and I'm really sorry about that.” I know Reuven, you said you’ve had that when were referred to designers as well, right? REUVEN: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then I just try to be as decent and transparent as possible and say, “Look, I really tried and it didn’t work out and I've learned a lesson.” I will not be referring people to that designer anymore. CURTIS: Yeah, it depends, right? It does depend a little bit on how it fails, so. I know I had one where the referral happened and the person had a major life occurrence and they just couldn’t do it and the client was very annoyed. And I was like, “The guy’s house burnt down.” That’s kind of a buy on things, and I know this is an important thing for you, but that’s kind of a buy on things, guys. It’s not like he says –. REUVEN: Burnt down. CURTIS: Yeah, come on man. All his possessions. REUVEN: Give me a real reason! CURTIS: Yeah. He was only lucky because his spare computer was somewhere else so he could [inaudible] all they files – that’s it. I said, “Come on, that’s a buy guys.” The client was not so understanding about it, and I could kinda see their business perspective, because it was a launch that did not happen, and it was probably a good launch but at the same time like, his house burnt down. Come on. I still work with them, and we are fine, and I still refer to him because that’s [inaudible] kind of a buy. There's always those situations where there's a buy on one person’s part. CHUCK: One other question I have is how do you find the people to refer to? CURTIS: With me, it’s community reputation, like in a WordPress community, people who do get work who I know. I'm on one mailing list where I have worked with probably half of the people – there's probably 10 people in the list, but everyone has worked with the other people at some point, so it’s all names of good people that do good work and we refer projects that look interesting but we just don’t do, and I don’t necessarily have a specific person that should get this; I just send it out to that list. I picked up about $12,000 of work off that instead of just on project last year. CHUCK: Great. REUVEN: I only refer to people whom I know – whom I know and I've worked with directly. Actually, I don’t know if that’s entirely true. If I refer to someone with whom I've not worked directly, or haven't done it directly in a while, then I’ll state it very clearly. And I’ll say, “Look, I think someone still might be able to help you out, but I can’t promise it, so you can try calling them [inaudible] I can’t give them a full recommendation, but I've heard good things about them.” But I prefer really to just recommend people I know. CURTIS: And I've done that as well. Like, “Hey, this person’s really awesome. If it was my money, I would spend it with them, but I have never personally worked with them so I cannot personally vouch for how they work with clients, but they're very good at it and I know that.” CHUCK: Yeah, I've done the same thing. I've not worked with them personally, but I know the reputation, and I would be willing to put money down and hire them. CURTIS: Yeah, it’ll be like you guys referring to me. Have any of you seen my code? Could any of you judge it in the WordPress realm? No, right? Would you feel comfortable referring to me? Maybe, maybe not. I would think, probably. I would feel comfortable referring to you, but I have never seen your code. CHUCK: Yeah [inaudible]. REUVEN: But we’ve said this before, and I think you said it before [inaudible], that my experience is it’s way, way, way more important – and I'm not trying to belittle anyone’s technical skills here, but it’s way more important to actually be decent and communicate and know how to work with clients, than be a technical genius. Because I've [inaudible] technical geniuses who do not know how to talk with clients or work with them. I just had this graphics designer I spoke with who might be either helping out or working with. We spoke about a year ago, and she said, “Well, I don’t know if you're really right for me. You're a little expensive.” So I spoke to her literally last week. She said, “Well, I found this designer who’s cheaper than you, but we had this little problem where every time he speaks to one of my clients, the clients call me up and say, “Please, never have him call me again. He was so incredibly rude.” [Laughter] REUVEN: And I said, “Okay. I don’t know if you're really saving so much money on that front; you're not going to get that from me. At least not as far as I know.” She’s like, “Hm. Hm. Maybe I should consider this.” CHUCK: Yup. CURTIS: Yeah, as I said earlier, I'd rather refer to someone good with clients and less technically adept. Because even often on referrals, I had one call this morning that I'm referring to someone else. I said, “If you have some questions that’s a little bit more toward my expertise than theirs, just ping me. I got code around that I could probably send you and you can figure out how to adapt this for your situation.” I'm usually available that way even for referrals, just with friends anyway, right? CHUCK: Yeah. REUVEN: Right, and it doesn’t take up a lot also for me to realize that I should not be referring. Like this graphic designer whom I had problems last year – really, she’s super nice, and I think talented in many ways, but she really disappointed me on the client front and I don’t think I can honestly refer people to her again. At least not for a while. And she was going through some personal stuff also; her house didn’t break down, but she was going through some personal stuff. But at the end of the day, the clients don’t care that much. Over time, you better get things done or you're going to lose their referrals. CURTIS: Yup. So what do you do with people like that? I usually send them to the job boards. “So you should just go and find this job board over here, post your job” and basically saying, “I have no one that I want to refer you to because I don’t think you're awesome.” That’s really what I'm saying. REUVEN: Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. I hadn’t thought of like, what if someone bad comes to you and says, “With whom can I work?” I don’t think that’s really happened to me. Or you know what? If it has, I think I referred them to people, and then I'd sort of send a warning to the designer or the developer. I say, “Listen, maybe this person is okay. I certainly can’t handle them right now, but you should just know, sort of [inaudible] them over the phone, before you spend a lot of time meeting with them. CURTIS: Yeah, I don’t even do that. There has been occasions where I find clients that are very small maintenance projects and there are services out there in the WordPress real that love the sub-$500 service regularly, and that’s what they specialize in. I've sent people to that because that’s just a way better fit, but the client-realm, like, I would never work with you. Then I'd just send them to the job boards, because I am not putting my name referring with anyone to that. CHUCK: Yeah, I'm the same way. The people that I'm referring to are generally my friends – they're people that I trust, people whose opinions I value, and I just can’t bring myself to refer somebody out that just – you're not going to be good to work with. If I think they’ll be a good client, but they just don’t fit what I'm looking for in a client, or I just can’t help them because they want something that I'm just not capable of doing, then I'm happy to refer those people up. [Crosstalk] REUVEN: I always have the impression that I like [inaudible] impression that I refer [inaudible] people to everyone I know; it doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes if they're sort of on the edge about it, I’ll say, “Well, I'm just going to [inaudible] fit, maybe someone else would be.” Sometimes, it’s actually worked out pretty well. CURTIS: Yeah, that one I was referring today and doing a little bit of a call because I had a little bit of the work on his project; it’s just his timeline – I can’t meet the timeline at all. So I'm not opposed to working with him or anything, but I just can’t do it, so. CHUCK: Yeah. I don’t know if I have anything else to add. Are there any other questions? Anything else you guys wanna go over, or should we go to the picks? REUVEN: I can’t think of anything else about this. CURTIS: Yeah, I think my only question was the bad referrals, which you just addressed. CHUCK: Yeah, I also have to say that if I get a string of bad referrals from people that I don’t have a problem telling them not to send me any more –. Alright, let’s do the picks then. Curtis, do you wanna start us with picks? CURTIS: Sure. I'm going to recommend an iPhone case called the Otterbox Preserver. It is a waterproof iPhone 5s case; still work with a thumb scanner. I did have to re-scan my thumb just because of how the case sets and your thumb will hit the scanner a little different for the touch I'd to login, but other than that, it is excellent and it is not bulky and huge, does not stick in your pocket and pull your pocket out when you try and take it out and it’s awesome. I use it all the time; when I'm riding, or even when your child decides to be upset and pour her soup on your phone, you just go, “Okay” and wash your phone off. REUVEN: That’s a good little hypothetical there. CURTIS: Yeah. I swear it’s never happened to me. Or when you’ve accidentally knocked it into the tub – that never happened to me at all. CHUCK: Awesome. Reuven, what are your picks? REUVEN: Okay, I got two picks for this week. I assume both of you have heard of social triggers; if our listeners have not heard of it, they should check it out. It’s a great website, the guy is extremely entertaining about how to do pricing and positioning and he recently – his most recent video, as of our recording, was –. I saw this and I said, “Okay. How can I not watch this?” How he spent $310 on a men’s haircut. I thought to myself, “Okay, I can’t imagine, imagine ever spending so much on a haircut.” And that’s basically how he opens. He says, “That’s right! I spend $10, maybe $20 on a haircut, why would I possibly spend more than that?” and he basically describes the experience and he says he was so overwhelmed by the experience that it was not a regular haircut. The positioning and the way that the – barber, basically, but he calls himself something else – the way that he put the whole package together, was not just the haircut. Truth be told, I still can’t personally imagine paying $300 for a haircut, even with all the perks and wonderful things that he described, but I could see how it could get a market. And for fun, I recently discovered a show which many, many other people have discovered, which is Sherlock from the BBC. I'm watching on Netflix, and I'm just totally blown over by how amazing it is. I'm really, really, really enjoying it, and I'm only a few episodes in. it’s only three episodes per season, so a few episode means that I'm already making headway. And one of the producers is Steven Moffat, the same guy who does Doctor Who, so if you like that – well actually, if you like television in general – I’d definitely, definitely recommend it. CHUCK: Awesome. Alright, I've got a pick. I've been trying this one lately – it’s called focus@will. Basically – I'm not a neuroscientist, and that’s my disclaimer on this. They do have a science page that explains all the neuroscience on how the cadence, some things in the music – so you hit play on the music player and it’s supposed to help you focus and kinda shut off your fight or flight, and it keeps you from being as distracted. I tried it yesterday for a few hours, it’s seemed to work pretty well. But like I said, I'm not a neuroscientist; it does work better than listening to my other music or to podcasts, so go try it out. But yeah, I'm really liking it so far. I might have a different review here in another week or two, but for right now, I'm really enjoying it. So yeah, go check it out and see what you think. That’s my only pick this week, yeah. So I guess we’ll wrap this up. Thanks for coming, guys. CURTIS: You're welcome, have a good one! REUVEN: Alright! CHUCK: Alright, we’ll talk to you next week.